If you missed the premier of Riverdale on Thursday, you are officially behind on your new television obsession. The show (which is being described as Gossip Girl meets Twin Peaks) gives the CW treatment to the Archie comics, which means the gang is a little edgier than you might remember…
What you knew: Well he’s still a ginger—though more copper top than carrot. And he’s still at the centre of the gang’s defining love triangle.
What’s new: New Archie is ripped AF, as we see in the pilot when his next door neighbour (Betty) spies into his bedroom window. The washboard abs are the result of the summer he just spent pouring concrete for his dad’s construction business (and hooking up with his teacher Ms. Grundy). Now back at school, Archie is torn between playing football and pursuing his passion for cheesy emo. He’s going into school every morning at 7:30 for private music lessons with Ms. Grundy…who is distraught over the whole
sexy tryst statutory rape thing.
What you knew: The signature headgear (kind of a knit cap, but still a crown motif), and the strong silent type personality. Unclear whether the character is asexual. So far his only love interest is the burgers at Pop’s Diner.
What’s new: In the premiere, he functions like a kind of Gossip Girl, taking us through the show’s central mystery—the death of Jason Blossom, whose accidental drowning was actually a murder (duh, duh, duuuuuhhhh). We learn that Jughead and Archie used to be besties, but they had a falling out over something and don’t hang out anymore.
What you knew: Blonde and beautiful in that classic girl-next-door way (which she quite literally is), Betty remains hopelessly devoted to you know who, despite the fact that he clearly wants to keep her in the friend zone.
What’s new: She takes Adderall for anxiety issues and may have a self-harm problem hinted at when she digs her own fingernails into her hand (and draws blood!) during cheerleading tryouts. We learn that her older sister Polly had some sort of breakdown and now lives in a group home after a doomed romance with Jason Blossom (the dead guy).
What you knew: She’s bold, gorgeous and comes from a world of privilege. And of course she has “Archiekins” wrapped around her finger.
What’s new: This time around Ronnie is the new girl in town, having moved to Riverdale after her dad was involved in some horrible Bernie Madoff type scheme (she calls herself “the Blue Jasmine of Riverdale High”). The hard knocks may explain why she’s a little bit nicer than her comic book counterpart, standing up for Betty to the show’s main mean girl Cheryl Blossom. She even tries to help Betty go for Archie at the big dance (and then she makes out with him in a closet—so, okay, she’s not that nice)
What you knew: Hard to say since the comic book character wasn’t very memorable (didn’t he mostly he just reminded Archie to do his algebra homework?).
What’s new: He’s played by Luke Perry, who brings his angsty, squinty-eyed A-game to the role. We learn that Mrs. Andrews is out of the picture (they split) and that he used to have a thing with Veronica’s mom way back when.
What you knew: If you don’t remember Cheryl, that’s because she was only around for a couple of years in the early ’80s. (The character was cancelled after being deemed “too sexual” for a children’s comic).
What’s new: In the comics Cheryl was a love interest for Archie (yes—another one), though her role on the show seems to be more about stirring up girl drama. The mysterious death of her twin brother Jason puts her at the centre of Riverdale’s key mystery.
What you knew: Kevin is the Archie universe’s first openly gay character, introduced in 2010 as a guy who Veronica wants to date.
What’s new: So far Kevin’s key role has been cheering on Betty in her doomed mission to make Archie her boyfriend. In the premiere there’s even a joke about the gay BFF stereotype, which means he should be getting his own storyline soon.
Josie the Pussycat
What you knew: She is still the leader of Riverdale’s hottest all-girl music act.
What’s new: Josie and both of her Pussycats are black (nice to finally see more diversity in Riverdale—Reggie is Asian). And she’s got some serious ‘tude as demonstrated when she craps all over Archie’s musical aspirations. Meow!